Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood are dominating world news. The Ikhwan’s influence apparatus is vast and it’s deceiving U.S. politicians.
A blog called Malaysia Watcher, has a prime example in Malaysian opposition leader ANWAR IBRAHIM AND THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD: A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words:
Anwar Ibrahim is a far cry from the “voice of democracy” he’d like you think he is. Nor is he the “moderate” Muslim he has persuaded some in America to see him as, with friends like Al Gore and Paul Wolfowitz. In fact, if a picture is worth a thousand words, take a look at the ones we have here: they harken back twenty years, and show Anwar in the company of a man branded by many counter-terrorism experts as a one-time inspiration to Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda!
That man is Yusuf al-Qaradawi.
Qaradawi, whom the American Jewish Committee has called “a radical Muslim Brotherhood Ideologue” with “xenophobic and anti-Semitic views”, has been linked to Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden through the Bank Al-Taqwa, where he is a principal shareholder and former Sharia advisor . His decades-long leadership role (he has twice been offered a chairmanship and admits that the Brotherhood considers him “their Mufti”) within the Muslim Brotherhood may also indicate a further link to Al Qaeda, as the Brotherhood served as a springboard for Al Qaeda devotees like Ayman Al-Zawahiri and Khalid Sheik Mohammed.
The Brotherhood, also known as the Ikwhan, was founded in Egypt in 1928 by an Egyptian schoolteacher named Hassan al-Banna, whom Qaradawi cites as a key figure in his own religious and intellectual development. Dedicated to the supremacy of Islam and Sharia law, the Brotherhood’s motto from its earliest day is chilling to Western ears: “Allah our objective; the Quran our constitution; the Prophet our leader; Jihad our way; and death for the sake of Allah the highest of our aspirations.”
The Brotherhood was banned in Egypt decades ago, but going underground, and being forced to create and engage front groups did not slow its evolution. Today the Brotherhood comprises a global network of Islamist extremists that has spawned such groups as al-Jihad and al-Gama’at al-Islamiyya in Egypt, Hamas, and mujahideen groups in Afghanistan. Though the Brotherhood often claims to be made up of moderates, it is in reality one of the largest, most influential anti-Semitic, Islamist terrorist groups in the world. Qaradawi now serves as the organization’s spiritual leader, issuing fatwas that legitimize and encourage the most controversial Brotherhood methods and ideas, including suicide bombing, the death penalty for homosexuality, and the rightness of the Holocaust.
Qaradawi tries to masquerade as a moderate Muslim, but his outspoken views mark him as the most dangerous kind of radical;and here he is with Anwar Ibrahim, another so-called moderate:
But this is not the only evidence that Malaysia’s Opposition Leader is no moderate Muslim. In fact Anwar seems positively proud of his association with Qaradawi. As recently as 2005, his website featured a picture of him with Yusuf al-Qaradawi, one of the most important leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood and in many ways its spiritual father. (The photo has since been removed, Anwar having apparently realized how unwise it was to display it.)
There is more, but it should be noted, as Malaysia Watcher does, that the twice convicted (once reversed) Anwar Ibrahim was given prime space in the op-ed section of the Wall Street Journal last week to lecture Americans and American politicians. Claire Berlinski took note and responded in, With Friends Like This, Egypt Doesn’t Need Enemies.
I don’t believe this is an Islamist uprising. I believe it is a genuinely democratic uprising. But Egyptian civil society is fragile and the Muslim Brotherhood is strong, well-organized, and well-financed. Were it to take power, there is every reason to believe it would make those very Egyptians for whom my heart aches long for Mubarak. The Muslim Brotherhood does not envision for Egypt a tolerant, pluralistic modern democracy: It envisions a theocracy. I have made this case at length and I stand by it.
This is why my heart sank when I saw this op-ed by about Egypt by Anwar Ibrahim in the Wall Street Journal:
The problems that plague the Arab world remain overwhelming: the concentration of wealth and power by the few over the many, poor infrastructure, primitive education systems, minimal health care, and decreasing incomes in the face of rising food prices and cost of living. Corruption and nepotism reign in the complete absence of accountability and transparency.
It is a perfect recipe for political upheaval: political marginalization and economic impoverishment for the people and ill-gotten wealth for the ruling elite. It’s a reality that can’t be cloaked by propaganda—citizens can see the reality on YouTube and Facebook—though the leaders certainly try. Indeed, no Arab leader has owned up to any of these evils, other than by offering pious platitudes about improving the economic lot of their people. …
And he’s right! He’s right! What man of conscience could read this without nodding?
Except for one thing. Anwar is a textbook exemplar of Islamism 2.0, an anti-Semitic Muslim Brotherhood loyalist (no doubt about that) who has come to appreciate that the word “democracy” is his friend and that no one in the West will be that curious about what he truly believes or the company he keeps so long as he liberally uses the magic word “moderate.”
I’ve written about this before. Among his other Islamist achievements, Anwar co-founded the IIIT, a Muslim Brotherhood front organization in the United States whose members have been arrested on terrorism charges. It publishes obscene Islamist propaganda, and has been implicated very credibly as a financier of terrorism:
There is more evidence of IIIT’s links to terrorism. A few examples: according to court documents, in the early 1990s IIIT donated at least $50,000 to a think tank run by Sami al-Arian, the World Islamic and Study Enterprise (WISE), that served as a front group for Palestinian Islamic Jihad. IIIT is also named as a defendant in two class-action lawsuits brought by victims of the 9/11 attacks. One alleges that IIIT received the bulk of its operating expenses from the SAAR network, whose component groups are accused in another class-action suit of being “fronts for the sponsor of al Qaeda and international terror.”
In 2006, lecturing in Washington DC, Anwar noted (not at all for the first time) that he was most influenced by the writings of “Syed Qutb, Hassan Al Banna, and Maududi.” Those names will be familiar to Ricochet’s readers: You’ll know what they stand for, and it’s surely not democracy. To the extent that such ideologues embrace democracy, it is not democracy for its own sake–it’s democracy as a streetcar to sharia. In Malaysia, Anwar’s party has formed an electoral alliance with the PAS, the party that calls for the strict imposition of sharia law. And he is positively proud of his association with Yusuf al-Qaradawi.
The bogeyman of Islamism, the oft-cited scapegoat of Middle Eastern dictators to justify their tyranny, must therefore be reconsidered or junked altogether. The U.S., too, should learn a lesson about the myth that secular tyrants and dictators are its best bet against Islamists. Revolutions, be they secular or religious, are born of a universal desire for autonomy. The common thread that binds the Iranian revolution and the Tunisian upheaval is the rising discontent of the people after years of suffering under oppressive rule.
Anwar is the bogeyman of Islamism: It’s a self-refuting statement. One of the most sinister aspects of Islamism today is that it has learned to exploit democracy, or at least the rhetoric of democracy, and it has learned to exploit the way the West pays no attention to the details.
Tunisia is falling to sharia and wants to form its own Hizbollah. Lebanon is falling to terrorist group Hizbollah. ‘Palestine’ is already in the grips of the Muslim Brotherhood via terrorist Hamas, and there are reports of escaped Brotherhood prisoners fleeing Egypt for Gaza. In Jordan, the Muslim Brotherhood has stated “Arabs will topple leaders allied with the United States.” What does that mean for non-Arab Muslims? And the potential for the Muslim Brotherhood to take control in Egypt looms.
Despite naive Western hopes for “democracy” in the Middle East, the names may change, but the story will remain much the same if Islamist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood gain control. None of this bodes well for the security of the United States – where the Muslim Brotherhood has already infiltrated all aspects of government. Stay tuned.